Catalan Witness the Fitness

DISCIPLINE: Bouldering
LOCATION: Cova de Ocell
GRADE:  V14/V15 (8B+/8C)
MOVES: 22
FIRST ASCENT: Chris Sharma

Catalan Witness the Fitness is a horizontal roof problem found in Cova de Ocell, Catalunya. The problem is in a cave situated halfway up the cliff, requiring climbers to scale a fixed line in order to reach the problem. 

Image by Sharma Channel

Catalan Witness the Fitness

Catalan Witness the Fitness is a horizontal roof problem found in Cova de Ocell, Catalunya. The problem is in a cave situated halfway up the cliff, requiring climbers to scale a fixed line in order to reach the problem. 

After moving to Barcelona and opening ‘Sharma Climbing Barcelona’ in 2015, Cova de Ocell became a convenient climbing destination for Chris Sharma. Situated only 35 miles from the city, and home to a range of world-class routes, the crag became the ideal stomping ground for the legendary American climber to continue to push the limits of climbing. Cova de Ocell is a small crag home to a handful of notoriously hard routes, with Sharma putting up a handful of difficult lines including El Bon Combat (9b) and Catalan Witness the Fitness, which received first ascents from Sharma in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Catalan Witness the Fitness is the king line in the deep sandstone cave, snaking along the roof out to the mouth of the cave. The name was inspired by Sharma’s Arkansas classic Witness the Fitness that he established in 2005. Like the Catalan variation, this was another horizontal roof problem that shares a similar crux sequence requiring high levels of body compression and shoulder strength.  

That problem begins with a start sequence of approximately 7 moves of 8B/+ on poor holds which require continuous body tension, finishing with the climber sticking a reachy left-hand flake crimp, causing their feet to cut loose. The second section of the problem then moves into 8A+, finishing an iron cross move to a rail offering a position for a short rest. From here, there are 5 moves of an easier going 6C+, before finishing on a jug at the mouth of the cave.  

First Ascent – Chris Sharma

Sharma first started working the CWTF problem in early 2015. He projected the boulder on and off over the course of 11 months, occasionally working the problem with Pol Roca and other Catalunya climbers. Sharma eventually bagged the first ascent on 2nd January 2016, and although he didn’t offer a grade for the problem, he did make reference to the 8B/+ start into 8A, putting it in the region of an 8C/V15 problem.

In January of 2017 Sharma, along with Eric López and Pol Roca, established two additional variations in the cave, both thought to be around 8B. 

Second Ascent – Alberto Rocasolano

The first repeat came less than a month later by Spanish climber Alberto Rocasolano. Rocasolano is one of Spain’s strongest boulders, being the second Spaniard to achieve five 8C ascents.

Rocasolano journeyed from Madrid to claim the second ascent of Sharma’s latest problem. On the first day of working the boulder, a hold broke in the crux sequence of the first 8B section, which made the sequence even more challenging. He spent a total of 8 days working on the problem, eventually claiming the first repeat on the 3rd of February, opting to make the ascent at night due to the lower temperatures. 

Alberto initially suggested a grade of 8B+, although later thought that the 8C suggested by Sharma might be more accurate. He also mentioned that, due to the length of the problem, a sport grade of 9a/9a+ would be more appropriate for the climb.

Third Ascent – Felipe Camargo

Felipe Camargo claimed the third ascent of CWTF after four short days of working the roof. Camargo’s quick repeat was impressive, mentioning he was surprised how fast his repeat came. The Brazilian had been training specifically for roof climbing in 2016, having traveled to China in April of the same year to make an ascent of Corazón de Ensueño, the largest roof climb in the world. 

Another reason that might have played a role in Camargo making light work of Sharma’s latest bouldering problem is due to the fact that he worked the problem with Pol Roca, one of the original climbers that projected the problem with Sharma.

Other Attempts &  Ascents

Since Sharma’s first ascent in 2016, 8 other climbers have gone on to claim an ascent as of 2021. Perhaps the most noticeable was Jakob Schubert, who sent the problem on his flash attempt in January 2018. 

Regardless of the grade, flashing CWTF is an impressive achievement nevertheless, and made Schubert one of 7 climbers to flash a boulder graded 8B+/V14. This wasn’t the first time Schubert had made a stranger, having flashed 5 8B boulders prior to CWTF. 

Ascents

Date of AscentClimberSuggested GradeNotes
2016-01-02Chris Sharma8B+/8CYouTube video
2016-02-03Alberto Rocasolano Jaudenes8CYouTube video
2016-02-26Felipe Camargo8CYouTube video
2016-02-28Ignacio Sánchez González8C (Soft)YouTube video
2016-12-24Martin Stráník8C (Soft)YouTube video
2017-03-07Jernej Kruder8C (Soft)YouTube video
2018-01-13Jakob Schubert8B+ (Soft)Instagram Post
2018-02-03David MacLeod8B+YouTube video
2019-01-04Pol Roca Lopez8CInstagram post

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